FOR THE PAST six years, the Portland Retro Gaming Expo has been a bright spot on the calendar of Portland gamers—a place to pick up old and hard-to-find cartridges and discs, bathe in the cathode rays of nostalgia, weep for long-dead consoles, and check out panels and tournaments that don't happen any other time of the year. For its seventh year, the Expo's taking it up a notch or two, graduating to the Oregon Convention Center and throwing out some pretty serious attractions:
The "Mega-Cade" Arcade—Set up with the help of Portland's videogame Mecca, Ground Kontrol, this is 20,000 square feet of arcade cabinets and pinball machines—they're culled from all over the Northwest, and none of them require quarters.
The Tetris World Championships (qualifying round begins Sat Sept 29, 10 am-4:30 pm)—I talk a lot of shit about how FUCKING AWESOME I am at Tetris, but even I would be out of my depth here: Anyone with 10 bucks can enter, but only the top 32 will have a chance at the $1,000 first-place prize, not to mention the chance to play against the champs featured in the documentary Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters.
Geek Trivia: Videogame Edition (Sat Sept 29, 3:30 pm)—Local podcasters Cort Webber and Bobby "Fatboy" Roberts bring the gaming questions to their ridiculously popular trivia event. Fair warning: Roberts works at the Mercury (DISCLAIMER), and he's smarter than everyone else here. Except for me. Also, compared to me, he sucks at Tetris.
Atari 2600 Programmer Series (Sat Sept 29, 11 am)—David Crane and Garry Kitchen are on a panel! Okay, they aren't household names, but their works are: Crane co-founded Activision and designed Pitfall!, for chrissakes, while Kitchen's the one who adapted Donkey Kong for the 2600. Interesting? Yes. A chance to thank these dudes for improving your childhood by a factor of one million? Yes.
Cosplay Contest (Sun Sept 30, 1 pm)—Look, this “Sexy Samus” costume I spent all week making out of old Ben & Jerry’s cartons isn’t going to strut around by itself.